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J Am Chem Soc. 2001 Jul 11;123(27):6543-54.

Mechanism and activity of ruthenium olefin metathesis catalysts.

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Arnold and Mabel Beckman Laboratories for Chemical Synthesis, Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA.


This report details the effects of ligand variation on the mechanism and activity of ruthenium-based olefin metathesis catalysts. A series of ruthenium complexes of the general formula L(PR(3))(X)(2)Ru=CHR(1) have been prepared, and the influence of the substituents L, X, R, and R(1) on the rates of phosphine dissociation and initiation as well as overall activity for olefin metathesis reactions was examined. In all cases, initiation proceeds by dissociative substitution of a phosphine ligand (PR(3)) with an olefinic substrate. All of the ligands L, X, R, and R(1) have a significant impact on initiation rates and on catalyst activity. The origins of the observed substituent effects as well as the implications of these studies for the design and implementation of new olefin metathesis catalysts and substrates are discussed in detail.

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